Stories about Narendra Modi

India’s ongoing Padmavati controversy is engrained with ulterior motives

A 21st century movie based on the mythology of the 16thcentury about a 14th century queen has ruffled political feathers in India. The members of Karni Sena, a politico-cultural group of Rajputs, man-handled Padmavati’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, vandalised cinema halls, and openly threatened high intensity violence if the movie is released. The protesters allege that the movie distorts the Rajput history, glorifies a barbaric invader as a lover and a brave warrior. Rumours are galore that the movie shows a love affair between the Queen Padmavati and the invader Alauddin Khilji. However, the truth is far more complex than what appears on the surface. Eminent journalists like Dr Ved Pratap Vedic and Rajat ...

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Announcing a bounty for beheading Deepika Padukone proves that India is not as ‘democratic’, ‘liberal’ and ‘tolerant’ as it claims to be

The ideology of the Taliban is in an expansionist mode –  it is no longer confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but has started capturing territory in India as well. And it is being ably assisted by none other than the ruling party in Delhi. How else can you explain the announcement of head money for the director and the lead actress of the upcoming movie, Padmavati, by a senior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)? How else will you explain the open endorsement by some members of the BJP for the fringe militant caste group, Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which has threatened to create ...

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It’s 2017, why should I change my surname, my identity, after marriage?

“What’s in a name?” I often hear people ask the aforementioned question, to which my instant reaction is, “So why do women change it after marriage?” This used to be a topic of discussion amongst me and my friends before I was married. The typical responses to justifying this included assumptions that it is either required by the law or considered customary and has always been that way. Just because something was considered customary, does that necessarily make it right? If it did, then women should not be voting or be working because historically, it was prohibited or frowned upon. But women today do vote, women do work and women do ...

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If Xi Jinping wants China to be accepted as a global leader, he needs to revise his aggressive diplomacy

The anointment of President Xi Jinping as the ‘core leader’ in the recently concluded 19th Chinese Communist Party congress, and by enshrining his thoughts on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era” in the party’s constitution, Jinping has elevated himself to the exalted status of Chairman Mao Zedong. Like the Little Red Book, Jinping’s thoughts have now been made compulsory reading for Chinese students, government officials and party functionaries. Jinping, before the convention of the congress, where his elevation was a foregone conclusion, had systematically purged all his potential rivals. His Machiavellian statecraft had ensured that he had a vice-like grip over the party. Added ...

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BJP is to India what the Taliban are to Afghanistan

The Taliban government in Kabul during the 1990s had become symbolic, not only of political barbarity, but also of great cultural intolerance. They wanted to obliterate all the symbols present in the country that did not relate to its Islamic history and culture. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas – which symbolised the epitome of Afghanistan’s history and heritage – was a brutal extension of that mentality. Today, India’s ruling Hindu party is besieged with a similar sectarian outlook. It displays an obsession to turn India into a Hindu nation, side-lining its other cultural and historical diversities. This fixation is so pronounced ...

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Before pointing the terrorism finger at Pakistan, it’ll be wise for India to take a look in their violent backyard first

While in Singapore, I met an Indian Hindu from Indian Gujarat, the state where I was born, in the hotel lobby. After exchanging pleasantries, he asked me, “And in which city do you live now?” When I said Karachi, he was shocked. “But that’s in Pakistan!” And then, when the truth dawned on him, he said, “You’re a Pakistani as well as a Muslim?!” He started edging away from me and I had to assure him that I wasn’t about to blow him up. Like most Indian Hindus, he had always believed that most Pakistanis cannot speak English, that they are too poor to afford vacations ...

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13,000 Pakistanis voted for far-right parties – should the remaining be worried?

Following the Supreme Court decision regarding Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification from his prime ministerial position, the NA-120 seat needed to be filled immediately. Fortunately for the Sharifs, the NA-120 by-election results allowed Kulsoom Nawaz to fill this vacant seat.  NA-120 has been a stronghold for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since 1985 when Nawaz won and became the chief minister of Punjab. From then onwards, Nawaz’s party consecutively won the NA-120 seat eight times in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2008, 2013 and now in 2017. The NA-120 by-election results did not only highlight PML-N’s stronghold, but also highlighted the emergence of two far-right Islamist parties – Milli Muslim League (MML) ...

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Why is Pakistan assumed to be the only saviour of the entire Islamic world?

Many individuals have been crying hoarse over how the Pakistan Army should be sent to Myanmar to help out the Rohingya Muslims that are being brutally massacred. I would like to ask the said individuals to reconsider their stance. Yes, we are truly upset and shocked at what is happening in Myanmar, but we already have enough going on in our own country and we have to protect our people first. Our soldiers are constantly on their feet on the Line of Control (LoC) as well as the Durrand Line, especially given the recent skirmishes. Moreover, our soldiers are valiantly fighting against militants in North ...

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If Aung San Suu Kyi fails to act, she will go down in history as an unworthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. In her acceptance speech, she called for the world to be “free of the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless”. Her story is one of courage and determination, especially the way she took on the might of the military junta for restoring democracy in Myanmar. In the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), witnessed a resounding victory but unfortunately, the military junta refused to recognise the results. The military kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 ...

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Gowhar, the nun-e-phol of Kashmir, and the ruthless killing machine that is the Indian CRPF

He was amongst the younger children. I remember him as a frail boy with prominent cheekbones. When he would smile, the dent in his cheeks would turn into a dimple. Whenever we would play cricket in the field and needed to toss, he would toss the bat up in the air with excitement and say, “Akh, ze, tra!” (One, two, three!) Being one of the younger children in the neighbourhood meant that Gowhar often got to play du taraf (both sides). For us, the older boys, children such as Gowhar were called nun-e-phol (a chunk of salt). It is an intriguing word in Kashmiri children’s vocabulary. ...

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